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The J.P. Gifford Market & Catering Company will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer. So far, business is still good at the Kent and Sharon locations for the store. Photo submitted

Going strong at Gifford market and café

KENT and SHARON — J.P. Gifford Market & Catering Company co-owner Mike Moriarty said, “We have actually noticed an increase in sales in the past three to four days.”

And that’s in spite of the fact that the two Gifford  locations — in Sharon and Kent — are currently open for takeout only due to recent rules aimed to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

J.P. Gifford’s Sharon Café at 16 West Main St. now uses a take-out window. The tables at the Kent store, at 12 North Main, have been cleared away so the store is set up for take-out only (one of the tables is now covered with stacks of toilet paper that are available to customers).

“We are reviewing possible curbside service,” Moriarty said of the Kent store in a telephone interview on March 19. “We are also pondering delivery.”

Countering an assumption that the store would experience a loss of business due to the shut-down of the three Kent boarding schools, Moriarty said, “There are actually a number of students still at the schools. And there are faculty and administrators who are customers.”

Both the Sharon and Kent stores’ hours remain the same and, in addition to selling their signature gourmet sandwiches, all-day breakfasts and soups, the Kent store is getting back to carrying groceries, such as paper products, frozen soups and cheese.

“We are getting a lot more ‘grab-and-go,’” Moriarty said.“Eighty to 85% of our business is already takeout, so there is no change to the menu.”

Moriarty runs the business with co-owner and chef James Neunzig. Neunzig mans the Kent store while Moriarty is mostly in Sharon. The business has no plans for layoffs.

“We have a tight staff, so there is no need to take those steps in the foreseeable future,” Moriarty said.

He said the Kent store has 10 employees; Sharon has five employees that are split 50/50 full-time and part-time.

“March is usually our slowest month so we already prepare for this with modified hours,” he said, adding that, “March has a drop-off [in sales] but it is not unmanageable.”

During these days of self-containment, Moriarty noted that J.P. Gifford’s Kent store will celebrate its 10 year anniversary (which was March 20) sometime in the summer.  He said right now the store exhibits a banner to that effect.

“We have a long-term lease,” he said. “Everyone is healthy. We’re keeping our heads down and doing what we need to do.”

J.P. Gifford’s two stores’ hours remain the following: The hours at the Kent Market (860-592-0200 and market@jpgifford.com) are Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The hours at the Sharon Café (860-238-3080 and sharoncafe@jpgifford.com) are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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